Navigating our Ever-Changing World as a Global Studies major

2nd year student, Tiffany Nassiri-Ansari shared her view in studying Global Studies.

Tiffany Nassiri-Ansari is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences in the School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University Malaysia. She shares her thoughts on studying Global Studies.

It’s a common refrain heard on the news, seen in brochures, and even featured in commercials: we live in unprecedented times.

This statement might feel especially relevant as we face the Covid-19 pandemic, but it has been true for quite a while now. Endless technological advances, sudden political shifts, and unpredictable economic trends – these days, the world seems to change faster than we can understand or keep up with.

Here at Monash, however, the Global Studies program has unlocked the key to keeping up with our ever-changing world: an interdisciplinary approach that helps us learn from the past, understand the present, and predict the future.

As a Global Studies major myself, I have had the opportunity of witnessing my classroom education interact with real-life events throughout my two years here at Monash University Malaysia. In my first semester, an introductory unit helped dozens of new students make sense of the trade war brewing between the United States and China at a time when most people were still struggling to make heads or tails of the headlines. The following year, a unit on political change guided us through the processes of grassroots political movements in the aftermath of GE14, our very own historic moment of political change. This semester, a unit about international migration coincided with the #MigranJugaManusia campaign, helping students make sense of the various ways migration issues can intersect with other policy areas and concerns such as the unforeseen pandemic.

Bridging the gap between theory and reality isn’t easily achieved, but it’s an art our Global Studies lecturers have mastered. One of my most treasured experiences in this program has been the opportunity to study under the guidance of seasoned academics and researchers; our lecturers work with think tanks, government agencies, and international organizations to gain on-the-ground knowledge and formulate brand new theories, all of which they’re happy to share with us. The Global Studies program also benefits from a wide network of professional experts and industry leaders who are extremely generous with their time and knowledge; one of my favorite classes featured a host of guest speakers ranging from a leader in the real estate field to an expert in the aviation industry. The privilege to learn from and interact with a variety of industry leaders creates a whole new world of opportunities for Global Studies majors, allowing us to not only explore the application of our degree in different fields but also form connections and networks with future mentors and employers.

These are just some of the many ways the Global Studies program offers students an educational experience that goes well beyond textbooks and classrooms to help us understand the ever-changing world around us. With the current pandemic not only dominating our present but looming in our future, graduates will find ourselves stepping into a brave new world that we must quickly adapt to. Age-old traditions like the handshake might soon go out of vogue completely, while relatively new practices like online conferencing are quickly becoming an integral part of our new normal. Luckily, Global Studies majors are well-equipped to handle these changes. Thanks to Monash University’s wide range of resources, the transition to online studying has been a smooth one; our graduates will join the workforce fully prepared to work from home, conduct online meetings, and collaborate in cyberspace.

Changes won’t just be limited to how we do things, but also what we do. We are on the brink of a seismic shift in the labor market, one that might render entire industries obsolete while giving rise to a whole host of employment opportunities we cannot even begin to imagine. This is where the Global Studies program comes in handy: while many jobs might soon be mechanized, some skills will always remain in demand.  Critical thinking, interdisciplinary analysis, innovative problem-solving, and more – these are the skills Global Studies majors bring to the workforce, where our graduates truly shine.

From voluntary stints with non-profit organizations to internships with powerful change-makers to job opportunities in a wide variety of fields, Global Studies students are highly sought-after due to our ability to make ourselves at home and useful anywhere we go thanks to the knowledge and skills the program imparts upon us within three short years. A future in politics, a career in the private sector, a lifetime of academic pursuits: all of it is within reach for us.

The opportunities are limitless for our graduates, thanks to the program’s interdisciplinary design that takes students on a journey that covers global governments and economies, sociocultural and environmental developments, technological and political revolutions, and so much more. As our world grows ever more interconnected and complex, Global Studies majors will have the advantage of knowing just how to keep up with these never-ending changes: we’ll look to the past for valuable lessons, understand the present in all its multifaceted complexity, and face the future armed with all the tools one needs to navigate an ever-changing terrain.